A new UN report on Tuesday warned that Africa’s urban population was set to triple in the next 40 years. It also said that the development would put massive pressure on governments and infrastructure across the continent.
The report entitled, ‘The State of African Cities 2010: Governance, Inequalities and Urban Land Markets’, was released by the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT).
It called for careful urban planning from governments to meet the needs of the poor.
The Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, Mr. Joan Clos, said: ‘Urbanization is here to stay and within a few decades, Africa will be predominantly urban.
‘Already, huge urban corridors across Africa are engines of economic growth.’
According to him, the issue now is for regional and national governments, local authorities and all other stakeholders to pull together to ensure the efficient management of urban agglomerations.
He said: ‘Smart urban policies could help spread the benefits and lift the continent out of poverty.
‘It is interesting to note that today, in many parts of the world, poor people take advantage of urban-rural mobility to live in multiple locations. This is especially true of slum dwellers who retain links with their rural homesteads.’
The report also noted some positive developments, such as a general reduction in the number of slum dwellers across Africa and the potential of urban corridors across the continent to drive growth, especially of land-locked countries.
It also said that Africa would suffer disproportionately from the effects of climate change and that accurate counting of slum dwellers was very difficult, in part because many poor people move between urban and rural locations for work.
The report was launched in Bamako, Mali, during the third African Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development.
That conference was attended by ministers in-charge of housing and urban development from all over the continent.
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